You hear his office door open, as you punch TripHash.com/travel-blog into your terminal. He saunters over, a stack of papers in his right hand, several manila folders in his left. He swings around the corner and peers over the side of the gray fabric-clothed cubicle. An empty chair...
Standing in a glass jetway with your fellow passengers and an actively beating sun. The temperatures are elevating from already lofty levels in this airport greenhouse and, unfortunately, there is no sign of impasse. The boarding announcements may have started on time but the boarding itself has only gotten you far enough into this heat chamber. You can deal with the heat but the time disappears when it disappears.
You find yourself racing off the plane. Do you take the moving walkway with some squatters on it or walk faster alongside? The outdated carpet in Milan’s Malpensa airport blurs on your periphery. Your finger dig in your pocket. Each step your phone is in easier reach until you finally grasp it: pulling, fumbling, swiping, activating, seeking, connecting while briskly walking, navigating, sweating. Read More →
His finger jabs perilously close to her soft skin and perfectly coifed makeup: his raving motions, powerful eruptions of spittle, and a cocky head cocked back for effect, an attempted heir of superiority. The intermittent sounds over the counter: keystrokes incessantly clicking, a brief moment of silence and an audible, forlorn sigh speckled with exhaustion. She grimaces.
“You need to book me on the next flight now, and that is what you are going to do,” he furiously snaps. Read More →
A blinking creature, graciously mute two of seven days. Your bleary eyes dance with the foggy numbers, swirling steadily, and slowly, into sharpness; the concluding result a trite and trivial matter on this lovely Saturday morning, a mere curiosity.
The flurries float, a few flakes falling onto a child’s tongue, snatched from the grey sea. The sound of brooms across the cement sidewalk becomes the scrape of shovels skittering across the ice, becomes the forlorn grunt of the weary, pondering a warmer day absent the whir of snowplows on a random rotation. Read More →
You arrived the other day to Punta del Diablo; a seasonal party town just starting to fill it’s lungs with the bustle of summer energy. You mosied down the crudely paved road sloping past a strewn mixture of crude shacks and luxury residences, headed northeast through the small downtown—if you should even call it such—and soon thereafter find yourself down on the closest beach, Playa de los Pescadores, which is appropriately littered by a handful of colourful Uruguayan fishing vessels perched on the sandy shore.
You poke around in that abandoned structure out by the breakwater; the one slapped annually by the winter winds, kissed by aerosol paints. You climb the boulders and watch the feisty crabs disappear into crevices just out of reach of the tidal pools. Read More →
The paralyzed air allows the thick warmth inside to exercise itself into a choking heat. Tonight, the wind went missing from the quiet beach town on the Uruguayan shore.
Your rhythmic breaths—warm puffs of perfumed nectar—spill out luring the high-pitched squeal that taunts you; the high-pitched squeal a torn nylon netting, the one that dangles sloppily from above, can no longer keep at distance.
You wait for the volume increase, a gloss of sweat building, and then, at the opportune time, attack mercilessly with a slap to the side of your head. Your other hand plays the surprise flank attack, crushing a miniscule pocket of air just above you in case it tried to escape. The whine has ceased and now, in this silent house covered in vegetation, softly lit by the full moon, you wait. Read More →
A gentle sea bound breeze escorts itself down the dirt road—overgrown weeds lining the perimeter—past abandoned houses awaiting summer—wild flowers coloring the walls—and past the grizzled gentleman tending to his piles of rusted scrap metal and old appliances collected in the yard. Each one of your steps crunches against the hard natural surface; hurried due to the realization you are losing the race with the sun and its daily morning commute.
You wait by the horse pasture—the one you noticed yesterday on your way back from the beach—for the arrival of the owner, ever mindful of the time elapsing which could imperil the river crossing tonight. You see, if you can’t borrow the horse for the journey, you will need to walk, and if you walk, it is, of course, going to take much more time. Read More →
Deep in a golden-tinted basin as autumn wanes; the grains shuffle all about. The rush of each gust, navigating past your surroundings, seeking escape into the nothingness behind, announced by your ear.
Flight after flight—whether New York, Ho Chi Minh, Tokyo, or otherwise—you are greeted by the cacophonic call that lives so comfortably: the hordes of comings and goings, the merchants of profits, the snaked checkpoints and the entryways where everyone is either bursting with excitement, sobbing at life or yelling for no one while waiting for someone. Read More →
You are bragging on Instagram about the experience of sitting in a fabric-covered, or better yet, a leather chair. “Look at your kingly posture,” you shout to the world in a photo of you and your surroundings. Your followers would be shrieking right now if they saw that your chair has a power plug by it—power to continue your important life.
You fish your hand around in your jumbled pile of things, grasp onto your desired piece, delicately unravel seven cords all jumbled into one, and spend a couple minutes trying to pull out the power cord which you will soon be jamming into the port at your feet. Loud announcements, people yelling into phones fighting the robot announcer while deafening their loved one—apparently unaware how phones work—as an overworked women with a spending problem, two cups of coffee and enough baggage for the Ottoman army slams into your shoulder. Naturally it isn’t her fault that your pants have mopped up half of her liquid goods as she scurries away.
The worn door, its discoloured frame, a quick thud and a metallic click leaves the smiling older woman on the other side; the warm morning, azure skies, cranky, rumbling automobiles, and a loud Spanish street conversation on yours. Your mind races: coffee, cash, cigars and a car.
The heat pretty quickly etches a glaze on your face, the increasing speed of which seems proportional to your accelerating pace. Your burgeoning bag tugs your shoulder as you pass faded pastel façades, soda shacks and rows of classic American cars. Past the split lane road ferrying an endless supply of visiting baby boomers in old convertibles, you slice your way through the shadows of the palm trees, swaying slightly in the weak coastal wind. Read More →
He’s probably three and a half decades in; the hard years creased into his face such that, in certain light, your discerning eye pushes such numeric guesses well beyond. The droopy eyes, the slightly-open mouth at rest, a faint smile curled into the edges of his cheeks—all of these things come into your vision with the starter, “Are you from England?”
No matter the answer, any answer is the one he desires. An answer that has no relation to the question is just as well; you grant him such. You’ve decided to let all hesitancy, all skepticism, all defensive mechanism to evaporate into the warm evening air, or at least as much as you can muster. Read More →
The torn shred of paper, with its lingering fibers bending against the wind circulating through the windows: “46 Neptuno” boldly soaked in blue ink. Neptuno you can pronounce in a bad Spanish accent. “Forty-six”, on the other hand, would best be uttered as “cuatro seis” evoking some wild look in the driver’s eyes and you ending up in some strange place along Neptuno, the long street running between Cuba’s Old Havana and the University. So the paper does the work, yet the driver still looks a bit confused.
You slice the air with one outstretched arm, palm perpendicular and flat as it hacks downwards. Read More →
The rubber tread chafes slowly against the vinyl tile; a scraping sound elicited, times hundreds. Bodies snaking in clustered rows. The eyes of hope, the sagging shoulders of defeat, the curved lip ends of humour, they are all dotted throughout the landscape. You have been waiting in a giant mass of people in the basement of the Havana airport for hours now, pushing forward ever so slowly.
It seems the line several rows over is being attended to by two officials rather than the typical one. Should you switch to that line? It is a much longer line than yours, but it seems to be going much more quickly. You will wait for a little longer and keep on observing. Those two people just split their resources; he sends her to the longer line, he waits in yours. Who will win the race? Read More →
Dodging rain drops and automobiles, you weave towards Mexico City’s Condesa neighborhood. Over the scarred concrete walkways—which invariably disintegrate randomly to dirt before building back—and around murky puddles lapping past the dysfunctional (or perhaps non-existent) storm drains, you make your way.
Hunger is rising, a consequence of having not eaten all day. Another giant puddle has formed by a lively restaurant, the employees trying to divert the liquids away. You hadn’t even bothered to check the weather forecast, oblivious to Mexico City’s potential for schizophrenic weather. Read More →
The green light fires and you are on your way past the customs officials in the Mexico City airport. After withdrawing from the ATM, you locate a small convenience store and buy a water to break your larger bills into smaller ones, aware that you will most likely need those to purchase your bus ticket.
The electronic doors slide open, exposing you to the humid air and sound of heavy rain. “Taxi! Taxi!” clashes with your ear as you walk past the taxis in an effort to locate the M3 Metrobus to bring you downtown. You find the ticket machine hiding just beyond those taxis. The machine wants 40 Mexican Pesos (“MXN”), or a little over $2USD. You have the exact change due to your cunning water purchase but the machine is not accepting bills. You only have bills. Read More →
The clouds want to talk—you can tell they do—but everytime you think they might, they refuse. You pretend like you don’t care, but you do. You quicken your step, around the corner with broken concrete blocks wedged at various diaganols to each other. The continuous hum, or is it a roar, of motorbikes, are they getting quieter?
Bollywood DVDs with their faded covers and stacked neatly on a rickety lime green cart with oversized wheels is pushed in front of you. You decline, naturally, which makes him more persistent. If not DVDs, perhaps a taxi, a tour guide, a menu? You continue briskly. You glance at the clouds, darkening with a heavy heart. Read More →